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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Two papers that we’ve covered have been retracted—here’s why – ars Technica (John0 Timmer | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 24, 2019
 

Not all retractions are created equal.

Science is an activity performed by humans, so it’s inevitable that some of the scientific papers we cover will end up being wrong. As we noted yesterday, the cause can range from factors completely outside of a researcher’s control—like OS implementation oddities—to mistakes and errors or even intentional fraud. In some cases, the problems are minor or peripheral to the main conclusions of a study and can be handled with a correction. In others, the issues are fatal to the paper’s conclusion. In these cases, the only option is to retract the paper.

When Ars discovers that a paper we’ve covered has been retracted, we make an effort to go back and provide a notice of it in our article. But until recently, we didn’t have a formal policy regarding what that notice should look like, and we typically didn’t publish anything new to indicate a retraction had occurred.

Having given it some thought, that practice seems insufficient. A failure to prominently correct the record makes it easier for people to hang on to a mistaken impression about our state of understanding. Perhaps more importantly, not reporting a retraction leaves people unaware of a key aspect of science’s self-correcting nature and how retractions can sometimes actually advance our scientific understanding. This is definitely apparent in the contrast between two retractions that we’ll revisit today.

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(Australia) UNSW skin cancer researcher Levon Khachigian hit with string of retractions – ABC News (Elise Worthington and Kyle Taylor | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 20, 2019
 

Levon Khachigian cuts an imposing figure in the hallways of the UNSW School of Medical Sciences.

This disheartening case isn’t the first time it has been suggested an independent national body should investigate allegations of research misconduct, that Australia’s approach has an inherent conflict of interest problem and something needs to change.

The 55-year-old cell biologist rose to the top of the university’s academic hierarchy, on a salary package once worth more than $250,000 a year.
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In the elite world of academia, where prestige is driven by publication in top scientific journals and research funding is scarce, Professor Khachigian has been a big earner, bringing more than $23 million in funding to the university over his three-decade career.

The cancer and cardiovascular researcher was once regarded as a rising star on the brink of a breakthrough treatment for skin cancer.
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Professor Khachigian is the winner of multiple Eureka prizes, widely regarded as the “Oscars” of Australian science, and once told a newspaper that the toughest part of the job was “when a research paper is rejected for publication on whimsical grounds”.

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(Taiwan) Draft amendment would make hiring thesis ghostwriter ethical misconduct – Taipei Times (Chien Hui-ju | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 16, 2019
 

If proposed new regulations are approved, researchers who have papers ghostwritten would need to return their government funding, because the draft would classify the practice as misconduct, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said on Monday last week.

The ministry last month proposed draft amendments to its Guidelines for Handling and Investigating Research Misconduct (學術倫理案件處理及審議要點), which governs researchers’ applications to the ministry for project funding or academic awards.

Having a paper ghostwritten is a breach of research ethics and investigations would be able to go back 10 years, the draft says.

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A publisher wants to destigmatize retractions. Here’s how – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2019
 

It’s no secret that retractions have a stigma, which is very likely part of why authors often resist the move — even when honest error is involved. There have been at least a few proposals to change the nomenclature for some retractions over the years, from turning them into “amendments” to a new taxonomy.

Erica Boxheimer, data integrity analyst at EMBO Press, and Bernd Pulverer, chief editor of The EMBO Journal and head of scientific publications for the Press, have suggested a related solution, which builds on a 2015 proposal:

We proposed to use the term “withdrawal” instead of the canonical “retraction” for an author‐initiated retraction based on “honest mistakes”. We are now using the terms “retraction” and “withdrawal” as formally distinct content types across EMBO Press in the hope that “withdrawal” attracts less stigma and encourages self‐correction. 

Read the rest of this interview and discussion piece

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